South Korea’s total exports dropped to a significant extent in January this year due to the sluggish exports of major items such as semiconductors.
The OECD announced on March 24 that South Korea’s total exports fell 5.9 percent year on year in January. That month, South Korea ranked 26th out of 32 OECD member countries in terms of year-on-year export growth. South Korea’s ranking has fallen since the fourth quarter of 2018. Specifically, it came in second in the group of 36 countries in October last year, but it slid to 16th in November and 26th in January this year after posting a year-on-year export growth of negative 1.7 percent in December 2018, when it came in 15th.
In the G20 group, South Korea’s ranking fell from third to ninth, 10th and 15th from October 2018 to January 2019. This is because of a decline in international trade and a decline in the prices of semiconductors and petrochemical products, which are South Korea’s major export items. In January this year, South Korea’s semiconductor and petroleum product exports fell 23.3 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.
The sluggish exports are likely to continue for a while in that South Korea’s exports fell 11.1 percent year on year in February and 4.9 percent for the first three weeks of this month. If this pace continues, the country is likely to show a decline in exports for the fourth consecutive month.